Certain pieces anchor a room like couches and coffee tables, beds and dressers, and dining room tables and chairs. Conceivably more important than large-scale furniture, or at least, something you should consider as a first step? Area rugs! And the latest trends are taking a turn for the bold and textured, according to interior designers.
“Rugs are a crucial component of the design, anchoring the space and providing the base layer for the rest of the room,” says Sarah Brady, founder and principal designer at Salt Design Co. “They’re the perfect way to define and differentiate a space, especially with the increase in open-concept living. Sometimes considered an afterthought, I find myself using the rug as my inspiration for a space, building the design from the ground up.”
Whether you’re framing a seating area, texturizing a bedroom, or sectioning off a breakfast or work-from-home nook, Courtney McLeod, founder and principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design, says area rugs help to draw various elements of a room together. “Rugs add depth and texture while being great for other senses as they assist with acoustics and add warmth,” she tells TZR. “Often, I like to pull colors from a rug; they’re a great base point for designing a room with a well-considered mix of colors, styles, and periods.”
When selecting the right area rug for your space, interior designer and stylist Colin King says, “scale is everything,” especially when determining how loud or quiet you want a style to read in a room. “If it’s a smaller scale space, it’s about playing with texture and monochromatic styles,” he explains. “For a larger space, there’s a bit more room to explore in terms of keeping the vibe energetic and a pattern that’s a little busier.”
King says rugs are perfect for creating a break in any type of austerity with flooring, too. “There are levels of practical beauty they offer in very tangible ways,” he says, highlighting colorblock designs as an on-trend pick, like from his limited-edition collection with Beni Rugs. But before considering style — be it natural, colorful, or vintage — Brady says it’s vital to first consider a rug’s function before focusing on the design. From there, you can better determine the fabrication that will work best, be it sisal, jute, or hand-knotted wool, to name a few. “At Salt, our favorite rugs are from Armadillo, an Australian manufacturer of natural, sustainable rugs,” she tells TZR. “Their products are designed to counteract today’s throwaway culture and stand the test of time — they’re earthy yet elegant and can hold up to the harshest of conditions.”
Whether you’re decorating a new space from the ground up or craving a rug swap somewhere within your home, keep reading to discover the seven biggest rug trends of 2021, according to Brady, McLeod, and King, and more, and shop the edit for styles that speak to you.
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Warm Tone & Natural Materials
According to Brady, 2021 is trending toward warmer, earthy, natural, and authentic design, telling TZR, “After being home for over a year, we’re drawn to color that makes us feel warm and textiles that create a sense of comfort.” The same holds true for rugs, she says, which includes a rise in earthy-toned, natural materials like sisal, wool, and jute to create a sense of calm. “I love working with quality, natural materials as I find they not only stand the test of time but perform best in high-traffic situations,” the designer shares, noting an affinity for layers of organic texture.
Performance & Washable rugs
For 2021, McLeod says it’s all about practicality in the world of rugs. “Performance and washable rugs will undoubtedly increase in popularity as homes become more active and the need for clean, safe spaces continue to be a high priority,” she tells TZR. From entryways to bedrooms and living rooms to kitchens, the designer says these types of rugs are low-maintenance with tons of options on the market, highlighting The Rug Company, Makrosha, and Brunschwig & Fils and three of her favorite sources. Options include budget-friendly area rugs and runners to suit spaces from small apartment hallways to large family rooms, whether the room calls for solids, patterns, or neutral tones. McLeod’s biggest tip: “Choose a neutral design with varying pile heights to add texture, or go bold with a colorful, vibrant design.”
Bold Colors & Patterns
Neutral tones will always have a place, but McLeod and King predict a move toward bold and colorful rugs that express more personality on the opposite end of the spectrum. King highlights art-inspired patterns and deco-style rugs, while McLeod says vibrant, daring rugs with dynamic patterns and lively colors will become increasingly popular. McLeod reasons, “People can be themselves at home; it’s a place to be comfortable, feel confident, and be who they are. I believe design has the power to spark joy, and we will see more interiors reflecting this with a move to bolder design choices.”
Beyond area rugs as central points in a single room, McLeod also predicts an increase in bolder rugs throughout the home, from stair runners to hallways. “Using a rug as a jumping-off point for a room can help tie many elements together,” she explains. “Rugs can help define multiple spaces in one room, such as a living area converting into a home office, play area, and home school. Bold rug choices can define these areas while also sparking creativity.”
Longer Pile Lengths
Vintage rugs are a popular choice for adding character to a room, but they tend to be thinner after years of wear. In response, King predicts a turn to longer pile lengths in the coming months. Before you picture nauseatingly colored ‘70s-style shag — new-era versions range from light and airy shades with simple tassels to richly pigmented plush wool.
Monochromatic Color Schemes
While Joshua Smith of Joshua Smith, Inc. also sees bold patterns on the up, he predicts a trend of color schemes that are slightly more subdued. “I think we’ll see more monochromatic rugs that feature bold and graphic patterns expressed in subtle tonal variations,” he tells TZR. That’s great if you’re wanting to keep a room looking calm, he explains, but still make statement. “These rugs are my personal favorite because they allow you to maintain the serenity and harmony of a space while also infusing it with a little personality to boot!”
Yes, longer piles are seeing a comeback. But so, too, are non-shaggy styles. “I have noticed that overall rug styles have been gravitating towards more of a flat weave type of rugs,” Hilary Matt of Hilary Matt Interiors says. “I’ve been seeing a lot of braided and Moroccan rugs and anticipate that to continue into the new year.”
Vintage Rugs In Neutral Hues
Apparently, neutrals are having a big moment this year. In addition to being a popular choice in jute and sisal rugs, the hues are seeing demand in vintage rugs as well, according to Lindye Galloway, the founder and chief creative officer of Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop. “Vintage rugs in neutral and muted hues bring character and visual interest to a space without overpowering the design and concept,” she shares. Fortunately, they’re also pretty much great anywhere — Galloway says you can use them in rooms from the kitchen to the bedroom.
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